Showing posts with label Little People. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Little People. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A 'Little' Theory About Semantics

By: T.R. Slyder,

Semantics are a big deal in our society.

For instance: I'm convinced that semantics are the only hangup with the passing of gay marriage legislation. Why? Because here is every gay marriage argument ever.

ProPerson: Gay Marriage should be legal.
ConPerson: No. Marriage is between a man and a woman, the bible says so.

If instead of "marriage" they called themselves, "Contractual Homies", the Con argument would fall apart. The bible never says anything about Contractual Homies. It doesn't harm the sanctity of "marriage" because being Contractual Homies isn't the same as marriage *wink*. Problem solved.

The reason I mention that is because a group of little people is asking the FCC to ban the word, "midget" from the airwaves. I'm ok with that, if the majority of little people are offended by that, then that word should be banned. It's easy enough to call them 'little people' instead. No skin off my nose.

But I was trying to figure out why that word is offensive. It doesn't have any inherent connotation that 'little people' couldn't later adopt. The words 'moron', 'idiot', and 'imbecile' originated as clinical words used for different classifications of mental retardation- they eventually morphed into pejoratives. I'm afraid that little people are likely to always be considered an 'outgroup' and be regarded as oddballs, comedic or something slightly less than human.

That's where I think semantics can help. I think part of what makes the literal word "midget" pejorative is the ending. What other words end in -et, (or at least that sound)?

Nugget, cutlet, marionette, pipette, kitchenette, etc. I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty.

The point is they're all dimuntives- a little cut, little pipe, little kitchen, (nugget is different, and I have no idea what "Marion" is in French, but you get the point). The word "midget" just sounds like it denotes something little.

I think we should think of a new word to replace "midget" but something menacing- like the names of groups of bad guys/things in movies or like a dinosaur- something with a K sounds or two, or a V sound and ending in -or preferably. Like Klovaktors or Rokalktors or something. That's just a menacing sounding name. If you heard that every Wednesday from 9-midnight a bar had Rokalktor Tossing, at first you'd think, "Dayyyum! You'd have to be a bad mother fucking to throw a Rokalktor!!" then you'd realize that it means little person, and you'd think, "Eh, I guess most people could throw one. But man, that sounds difficult."

Giving little people a bad ass nickname would be like semantic reparations. We can do this.